Best pizza in San Francisco
The casual pizza arm of chef-owner Craig Stoll’s popular Delfina restaurant, Pizzeria Delfina has long been considered one of the best purveyors of thin-crust pies in town. Primo ingredients such as fior di latte mozzarella, prosciutto di parma, and house-made fennel sausage elevate traditional pizzas to the level of haute cuisine. Perennial favorites include the oh-so-San-Francisco clam pie, topped with cherrystone clams and hot peppers, and carbonara, a pizza form of the classic pasta dish with guanciale, farm egg, pecorino, and scallions.
Tony Gemingnani’s paean to Napoli comes complete with 13 different kinds of pizza baked in seven different ovens, ranging in temperature from 550 to 1,000 degrees. Grab a booth at the friendly, neighborhood restaurant and order up Tony’s Cal Italia, a medium crust pizza with gorgonzola, Croatian fig preserve, prosciutto, parmigiano and a balsamic reduction—gold medal winner of the Food Network pizza champion’s challenge. Gemingnani is also the first American to win the World Champion Pizza Maker title in Naples.
Delarosa’s thin and crispy, Roman-style pizzas in classic flavor combinations like margherita with burrata and pancetta, crimini mushroom, panna mozzarella and pecorino are served all day and late into the night on Fridays and Saturdays, when the restaurant keeps the lights on until 1am. But no matter what time of day—whether you’re feeding your hangoveror starting the night out right at happy hour—the simple but stylish interior is warm and inviting. Those avoiding meat and dairy will find Delarosa to be a fast friend: vegan cheese and sausage can be substituted on any pie.
Pizza master Tony Gemignani doesn't restrict his love for 'za to traditional Italian pies. His North Beach restaurant Capo's specializes in authentic, Chicago-style pizza served on four types of crusts: deep dish, cast iron pan, stuffed, and cracker thin. For the brick-walled, red boothed, old school restaurant, Gemignani crafted a menu of meat-heavy pizza classics and impressive experiments like the Italian stallion, loaded with mozzarella, fontina, Italian beef, Chicago Italian sausage, horseradish cream sauce, chives, sweet peppers and Romano. For antipasti, try the clams casino, made with white wine, bacon, garlic bread crumbs, romano and lemon.
In 2015, Del Popolo upgraded from a wood-fired oven inside a food truck to a permanent spot in lower Nob Hill. Though they can still be found hocking pies out of their repurposed shipping truck at outdoor events like Off the Grid, Del Popolo’s brick-and-mortar dining room, arranged around a green-tiled kitchen island and massive wood-fired pizza oven, offers something the truck can’t: wine. Their thin crust Neapolitan-style pizzas come in an array of combinations, including potato with prosciutto, fontina and rosemary.
Little Star has successfully won over Old World pizza traditionalists with its fresh take on Chicago-style deep-dish, starting with a crunchy cornmeal crust that stands up to robust toppings such as tangy, chunky tomato sauce, salty feta, piquant green olives, red peppers, artichoke hearts and whole-milk mozzarella. Breaching the gap between neighborhood favorite and destination restaurant, pizzas like the Mediterranean chicken, made with house-baked chicken seasoned with pepperoncini juice and garlic, and the namesake vegetarian Little Star, topped with spinach, ricotta, feta, mushrooms, onions and garlic, will make you a believer.
Two words: Breakfast pizza. While you can order any of Beretta's perfectly fired thin-crust pies at dinner (chorizo marinara with Oaxacan cheese and cilantro, anyone?), weekend brunchers in the know opt for the carbonara, which comes topped with bacon, two eggs, mozzarella, pecorino and cracked black pepper. Bring your appetite but expect a wait; after a decade in business they remain a Mission favorite.
There's plenty of deliciousness to be had at Fiorella, from antipasti like wood-fired octopus with pureed chickpeas, pistachios and olive salsa to a low ABV cocktail menu (shout out to Karl’s Old Fashioned made with Madeira, amaro and Vin Santo wine) but we continue to head there for the classic margherita and the spicy salami pie, made with marinated onions, chilis and provolone piccante. Eat in house to get a glimpse of the restaurant’s rad wallpaper featuring Too Short, Joe Montana, Alice Waters and other local luminaries.
The sleek design of this lower Nob Hill joint is just as appealing as its food, which has been receiving rave reviews since the restaurant opened in December 2018. But don’t call their magical pies “pizza.” The chef uses a 100-year old family recipe mixed with dried sourdough to create a light and fluffy Roman-style pinsa topped with cheese, meats and veggies. Combinations like the montanara, with mozzarella, pecorino, guanciale, mushrooms, and truffle oil and the miele, with honey, nuts, ricotta cream and seasonal fruit, come with an added bonus: they have half the sugar and a third fewer calories than regular pizza.
Gialina was the first of chef Sharon Ardiana’s modest empire of Italian and Mediterranean restaurants in San Francisco (she is also the mastermind behind NoPa’s Ragazza and Noe Valley’s Ardiana) and the neighborhood joint dedicated to her grandmother remains close to her heart. In the intimate space in Glen Park, Ardiana and her team are creating Neapolitan-style thin crust pies loaded with fresh veggies and savory meats like the spicy amatriciana (pancetta, chilis, pecorino and egg) and the zucca (butternut squash, ricotta and ricotta salata, sage and brown butter). Round out your meal with an order of a house favorite, the “little meatballs,” which come as a starter or served in a larger portion with polenta.